Thanksgiving is here, which means it’s officially Christmas season. After feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, it’s time to settle back on the couch, kick your feet up, and log into your newly acquired Disney Plus account to see what Christmas movies now sit in the giant Disney catalogue.
Unfortunately, since Disney Plus’ search algorithm is still learning the ropes, simply searching “Christmas” won’t bring up every Christmas movie on the platform. (Fun fact: currently, the Disney Plus holiday original Noelle does not come up on a “Christmas” search, but Iron Man 3 does.) Fortunately, we’re here to sift through Disney Plus’ vast offerings and handpick the most worthy movies to curl up and watch with a steaming mug of hot cocoa.
Home Alone (1990)
Precocious Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) is left — wait for it! — home alone during the Christmas holiday, when his family accidentally forgets him as they jet off to Paris. While initially happy with the freedom, Kevin realizes a couple of burglars are targeting his home. Cue the wacky DIY home security system. Home Alone eventually inspired an entire franchise, but the original has a lot of heart that we tend to forget, given the successive sequels’ wacky hijinks and replacement of the OG cast. Enjoy this one before Disney reboots it.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
Perhaps the inverse of Home Alone, I’ll Be Home for Christmas stars Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Jake, a self-centered college student who doesn’t want to return home for Christmas. When his dad promises him a vintage car if he gets home in time for Christmas dinner, Jake races across the country to get back to upstate New York. Naturally, it’s not as easy as taking the next plane ride, and Jake ends up hitchhiking across the country. Since it’s a Christmas movie, he sheds his selfish ways, but not before getting put through the wringer.
Mickey’s A Christmas Carol (1983)
Charles Dickens’ classic tale will get retold till the end of time. The most entertaining spins on the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge are the ones that use existing characters to fill the hyperbolic characters of A Christmas Carol. The Mickey version naturally has Scrooge McDuck in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, with Jiminy Cricket playing the Ghost of Christmas Past, Willie the Giant filling in as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and a delightfully kooky Goofy as Jacob Marley.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
Three separate short films follow the classic Mickey Mouse characters during Christmas time, putting fresh spins on familiar Christmas stories. Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie get caught in a time loop of forever Christmas, and must come to terms with their greed. Max Goof grapples with the fact that Santa might not be real, but his dad Goofy still tries to give him the best Christmas ever. Minnie and Mickey realize they can’t afford perfect gifts for each other given their crummy retail jobs, so they make sacrifices.
The CG follow up, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, is also available on Disney Plus, but it doesn’t capture the same gooey Christmas warmth as the original. These short films are a little shallower, and the animation is a little stiff, but it’s still a fun time.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Ah, the most classic of Christmas classics (save for It’s a Wonderful Life, probably), Miracle on 34th Street is the OG Santa movie. Sweet old man Kris Kringle serendipitously fills in for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade Santa, then becoming Macy’s regular Santa. Turns out he fits the role well. Maybe a bit too well. People start getting suspicious and try to get him sent to a psychiatric hospital, turning the sweet Christmas tale into a courtroom drama.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Continuing the tradition of Christmas Carol retellings starring existing characters, The Muppet Christmas Carol packs all the usual Muppet hijinks into the Dickens tale. It’s narrated by Gonzo the Great (who plays Charles Dickens, because of course) and Rizzo the rat (who’s just… playing himself). The best part of The Muppet Christmas Carol is that while most of the characters are played by the Muppet crew, Scrooge himself is played by Michael Caine.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is absolutely more of a Christmas movie than a Halloween movie. The bulk of the film takes place between Halloween and Christmas (which makes it a perfect November movie), but the plot is fueled by the notion of Christmas. While Jack Skellington has turned into a staple of emo mall-kid subculture, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a chillingly good time with some iconic spooky songs.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Regular divorced dad Scott Calvin is whisked away to the North Pole after he accidentally murders Santa. Yeah, that happens. But the elves aren’t upset, because apparently falling off roofs is an occupational risk, so there’s a built-in contractual clause for that. A Santa Clause, if you will. Get it? Anyway, Scott gets in the sleigh and accidentally becomes Santa. He fights the obligation at first, but eventually comes around because of the spirit of Christmas.